Volume 2 Issue 21 - November 01, 2004

Arjun Singh sets up working group

DNIS News Network - The Minister for Human Resource Development, Arjun Singh, has constituted a Working Group to prepare an action plan on making education inclusive.

On August 15, in the presence of the Minister for Human Resource Development, Arjun Singh, NCPEDP had launched an awareness campaign on inclusive education. Referring to a landmark education audit conducted by it, NCPEDP had revealed some shocking truths about the lack of facilities for students with disabilities. Appalled at the findings, the minister had promised to take the issue up on a priority basis at the appropriate levels.

Underlining his commitment to making education inclusive, the Minister subsequently convened a meeting with three key Secretaries from the Ministries of Human Resource Development and Social Justice and Empowerment -- B.S. Baswan (Secondary and Higher Education), Kumud Bansal (Elementary Education and Literacy) and Sarita Prasad (Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment) -- on October 26. At this meeting, the Minister has constituted a Working Group, under the Chairpersonship of B.S. Baswan, to prepare an action plan on the subject and to take the agenda forward. This action plan will be shown to the Minister of Human Resource Development as well as to the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment.

NCPEDP's education audit had showed that India's education system currently has no place for children with disabilities. The 119 universities that responded to the survey reported the enrolment of a mere 1635 disabled students between them. Several prestigious universities including Delhi University and premier medical college, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, failed even to respond. And as far as colleges were concerned, only 679 students were admitted to the 96 colleges from across India, which took the time to participate in the survey.

Schools displayed an even greater bias against disabled students. Only 382 children with disabilities were enrolled in the 89 schools that responded. Of these 89 respondent schools, 18 said the existence of "special schools" meant they did not feel obliged to admit children with disabilities.

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